18 January 2024

New Orleans-Style Beignets

New Orleans-Style Beignets / www.delightfulrepast.com

I remember well the first time I had beignets many years ago, breakfasting alone in a charming cafe. One simply does not go to New Orleans for the first time and not have beignets and cafe au lait in the morning. I worked out my own recipe on my return but have never blogged it.

If you've never made beignets (pronounced BEN-yay), you might think it would be difficult or complicated. It is not. It's really quite easy, though I'm not fond of deep-frying. I had intended to fry just half today and half tomorrow, since they are at their best served right away. But I got carried away and cooked them all! Fortunately, Mr Delightful quite likes them reheated briefly in the microwave, so they won't go to waste.

Traditionally, they are quite plain, no spices. But I like a bit of cardamom in them myself, so I listed it as "optional" in the recipe. And they are traditionally paired with cafe au lait or coffee, which I had in New Orleans, but here at home I find they pair beautifully with my black teas.

Nice thing is, the dough rests in the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours, then all you have to do in the morning is quickly roll out the dough and cut them, heat up your oil, and get ready to wow your breakfast guests! 

I hope you'll make a batch soon and let me know how you like them.

New Orleans-Style Beignets / www.delightfulrepast.com

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New Orleans-Style Beignets

(Makes 36)

3 1/3 dip-and-sweep cups (16.66 ounces/472 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
1/4 cup (1.75 ounces/50 grams sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cardamom, optional
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces/118 ml) milk
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces/118 ml) water
2 tablespoons (1 ounce/28 grams) unsalted butter
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Oil for frying
Powdered sugar for finishing

1 Make the dough the day before. In a 2- to 2.5-quart bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt. In a 2-cup glass measure in the microwave or in a small pan on the stove, heat the milk and water until hot but not boiling. Stir in the butter until it is melted.  With dough whisk or large wooden spoon, stir the liquid and the egg into the flour mixture until thoroughly mixed. Stir for 1 or 2 minutes, then stir in the remaining 1 1/3 cups flour a half at a time to form a soft dough.

2 Cover with lid or plastic wrap and let rest for 1 hour at room temperature until puffy but not necessarily doubled; then gently deflate it right in the bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days.  

3 Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Roll it into a bit larger than 12-inch square, making it as even as possible, trimming the edges to make a 12-inch square. I use a plastic pizza wheel. Cut the dough into 36 2-inch squares. Let them rest at room temperature while you heat the oil.

In a Dutch oven, pour the oil to a depth of 3/4 inch in the pan. Heat the oil on medium-high to 360 to 370F/182 to 187C (takes about 12 minutes on my stove). Line a baking sheet with 2 layers of paper towels. Drop 6 squares into the hot oil. They will sink to the bottom for a few seconds and then rise to the top. Fry for 1 minute, spooning hot oil over them. Use tongs to turn them over. Fry for another minute until puffed and evenly golden. Remove them to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Check the oil temperature from time to time to be sure it is hot enough.

Note: I use my Thermapen ONE to check the oil temperature.

5 Repeat until all the dough squares are cooked. OR you can freeze dough squares, with parchment paper between layers, to bake at a later date.

6 Just before serving, dust them heavily with powdered sugar if you like to be authentic, or lightly if you're like me and not that fond of lots of sugar. I use just 1/8 cup (0.5 ounce/14 grams) to dust the lot.

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Karen, the next best thing to mummy said...

These look delicious so I am going to follow your recipe #pocolo

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Karen, thank you so much.

PaulaShort said...

These sound fantastic! I can virtually taste these.
Visiting today from PoCoLo #3

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks so much, Paula. I'm looking forward to making another batch very soon.

Julie's Creative Lifestyle said...

Jean, these beignets look so good and thanks for sharing the recipe! Wishing you a happy 2024. Thanks for the visit to my blog and reading and commenting on my recent trip to London. I had a great time with my daughter and I look forward to going back again in the future. Take care. Julie xo

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

A new one on me! Beignets. Never sampled a dish in New Orleans I didn’t like. Never seen an offering of yours that didn’t look like art and bathe the tastebuds vicariously. That said, I’d be tempted to slather some exquisite jam or butter thereon. Can imagine re-heating in microwave adding a certain crispiness to the plusses.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Julie! And I hope you have a wonderful 2024 as well.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sully, thank you so much. And they are very tasty with a bit of raspberry or lingonberry jam, I must say. But the microwave is not their friend. If you want to enjoy the crispness, have them straight out of the oven. And if you have leftovers, reheat them in the oven. If they're still a bit warm and you nuke one for 20 seconds, fine, but to reheat in the microwave from room temperature does not get a result that you would enjoy.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sully, a correction to my reply: Not "straight of the oven," but "straight out of the fryer."

chickenruby said...

They look nice and easy to make. Thanks for linking with #pocolo

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Suzanne.

Angie's Recipes said...

These look so inviting and I am very sure that my husband would totally love these. Can't wait to try your recipe, Jean.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Angie, thanks so much. I think you'll have a lot of fun making them!

Jeanie said...

I haven't had a begniet since going to New Orleans, probably 35 years ago. They were so good!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Jeanie, you should make a batch, maybe for your Cork Poppers! Might be a fun little activity, with people eating them fresh from the fryer.

Donna G said...

O, these look good! And nice that they are overnight in the fridge, ready to bake for breakfast!

Hena Tayeb said...

These look absolutely delightful.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Donna! It is so good having them ready to go for breakfast. Just start the coffee and get the powdered sugar out while the oil is heating up!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Hena, thank you. I'm delighted by your comment! 😊

Marilyn @ MountainTopSpice said...

You share delightful recipes, Jean! This would make a very special breakfast treat!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks so much, Marilyn! Hope you'll whip up a batch soon.

Jeff the Chef said...

Having a begniet is one thing, but having one in New Orleans is a completely nother thing! I've brought a mix home with me and tried that, but I've never made them from scratch. Thanks for the inspiration!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Jeff, you're going to have such fun making beignets from scratch! Let me know how they turn out!

TONY said...

I've been busy lately Jean. Beignets, sounds French. I am afraid I can't eat deep fried food at the moment. Maybe in the future when my digestive system is working again. I am having a reversal operation before the end of April. Take care, Tony

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Tony, I'm sorry you're going through all that. Hope you'll have a full and speedy recovery after the surgery. Deep fried food is not something I eat very often at all. It's not good for any of us! But I figured a homemade thing would be less bad than something from a restaurant or donut shop that uses less wholesome ingredients as well as oil that is reheated/reused many times over. Get well soon!

Phil in the Kitchen said...

This is such a deeply satisfying recipe and would certainly be so much more welcome than something sweet and fried from a shop or restaurant.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Phil. It really is a fun recipe to make. It was so different from my usual *baked* goods that it felt like a break. "A change is as good as a rest," they say.